Blogtable: Stopping the OKC runaway

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Indy’s big challenge | Wish he was here | Runaway Thunder

VIDEO: Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 71 points in OKC’s Game 4 win

> How do the Spurs stop this freight train that is OKC? Will being back in San Antonio do it?

Steve Aschburner, Sure, why not? This has the smell of a home-cooking series (Paul George tribute, not an officiating salvo). I find the dueling forces — San Antonio’s experience and wrecking-machine offense through its first 15 postseason games vs. Oklahoma City’s athleticism and Serge Ibaka-stiffened defense — to be pulling in equal and opposite directions. I think coach Gregg Popovich and his crew can solve Serge (you didn’t really ask us for the coaching counter-move, did you?) but I’m a little leery of the mounting workload. By the time the Spurs had logged 17 games in last year’s playoffs, they already were up 2-1 in The Finals.

Fran Blinebury, The way Pop says — by meeting OKC’s energy and aggression at both ends of the floor. Also by getting back to knocking down 3s.

Jeff Caplan, The Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich has his work cut out. He said it after Game 4, the Spurs have to be smarter against such great athletes, meaning they can’t make sloppy passes, they have to protect the ball on the dribble and prevent 21-0 margins in fastbreak points (the margin in Game 4). Long, fast athletic teams seem to be kryptonite for San Antonio. Think about this, eight of the Spurs’ 20 regular-season losses came to the Spurs and Rockets. With Serge Ibaka in the lineup, OKC has dumped San Antonio eight straight times and 12 out of 14. That’s no longer a small sample size. Good luck, Pop.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Being back home will help, but the dramatic turn in the series has not been about location. The Spurs need to play with better intensity, as surprising, maybe even shocking, as that is to say for such an experienced team deep in the postseason. The Thunder haven’t just taken the momentum. It looks like they have taken San Antonio’s heart. I don’t think it’s permanent, but it is a concern. Tony Parker has to respond to Russell Westbrook.

John Schuhmann, Playing at home will help, but they obviously can’t count on it as the solution. They need to find a way to start making shots in the paint again. The ball has to move and when it gets inside … pump fake! A little Basketball 101 will get the OKC shot-blockers in the air, especially if they’re rotating and recovering, allowing for easier looks inside or open shooters on the perimeter.

Sekou Smith, Short of a lower leg whip on Serge Ibaka (brutal, I know), I’m not sure what legal means they can take to actually slow the Thunder down. A simple change of venue, from the arena in Oklahoma City to the one in San Antonio, might not be enough. I don’t want to be a prisoner of the moment or anything, but the Thunder certainly seem to be on to something right now with the way they are breaking the Spurs down and ravaging them in all facets of the game. It makes that 4-0 regular season record seem much more relevant now that Ibaka is back in the lineup. And it’s also telling just how difficult it is for the Spurs’ best players (Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard in particular) to get going in their individual matchups. Danny Green and Manu Ginobili have to shoot lights out in Game 5 to get the Spurs back on the right side of mighty momentum in this series, or I fear we will see a remix of that 2012 playoff matchup between these two.


  1. Tejas says:

    Should the Spurs lose again then the onus is on the coach and management. As good as they have been over the years the Thunder have had the wood on these Spurs since the 2012 playoffs.

    Everyone knows these OKC guys are not going anywhere so what did they do since 2012 to combat their weaknesses against this squad? Hope they don’t meet in the playoffs?

    This will truly be the end of the era for these Spurs should they lose.

  2. cjb says:

    The key to beating OKC is to wear them down with the spurs bench players. The bench is good enough to start for the spurs if needed. It begin to show in game 4 when coach Pop inserted the bench late during the 4th quarter and the bench started to regain the momentum. They out rebound and out scored the OKC Thunder. OKC begin to look like a very tired team running out of gas. The problem is coach Pop inserted the bench too late. The spurs bench can better match OKC starters with their speed and athleticism than the starting five of the San Antonia Spurs in my opinion.

    • kd's abeast says:

      U must not have realize that the only reason spurs bench brought the lead down was because okc players relaxed stey stopped fighting for rebounds unless it frll into thei lap they didn’t see the reason to continue playing at their insanely highblevel and I dont blame them THUNDER UP!!!!!! OKC IN 6

  3. Nathan Ko says:

    Thunder in game 7.Thunder game 5,Spurs 6 and Thunder 7 winning the series.

  4. KDfan says:

    1. None of you NBA contributors have any original thoughts or opinions of your own. Y’all are regurgitating Pop’s ideas.
    2. The website should penalize Sekou the max (and I’m not kidding) for mentioning that the spurs should whip Ibaka’s lower leg. Brutal I know, to use your own words. Such a response does not befit a contributor for a website that reaches millions of fans worldwide. Really Sekou is that what it’s come down to? Do you think it’s funny? Do you have to stoop down this low (or that is what we should routinely expect from you going forward)? Shame on you. If you have any decency and self respect left, apologize to Ibaka and to all of us NBA fans and try to redeem yourself. You shouldn’t wish any harm even on your enemy. At the beginning of every game the prayer mentions to keep everyone on both teams safe and injury free. But, for this one slip of yours I truly forgive you.

    • kd's abeast says:

      I dont think sekou was being brutal he was jjst being realistic by saying unless ibaka gets magically injured again there is no way spurs is winning this series.

  5. BasketballGenius says:

    This will be a seven game series. Westbrook and KD do not play their best ball on the road. I think I the shooting percentages will reverse and like the above poster stated….home cookin’ will be in full effect. with that being said it doesn’t really matter neither one matches up with the heat

  6. Brainundrum says:

    More like stopping the NBA REF runaway. What’s the deal with the huge discrepency in free throws? The NBA, where freight-training through your defender earns you a foul. Give me a break. What, all of a sudden, one of the top defending teams in the league suddenly forgot how to play defense? Nope, they weren’t allowed to play defense, because every time they did, a foul was called. You can’t defend recklessness, and the NBA rewards reckless play. This isn’t basketball. I don’t know what I’m watching anymore.

    • voice says:

      The NBA rewards fouls when there are fouls. It isn’t about the reckless play, but how it is defended. If you are moving and can’t react in time, you end up fouling the majority of the time. If it’s his space to stampede or burst into, then the defense can’t just step in front or stick a leg out and complain that it’s because he was being reckless.

      Learn to deal with speed without fouling and they will be fine. But do not make petty excuses. They did not know how to deal with that play, plain and simple.

      It’s only the refs fault when your team loses. But when Westbrook is getting called for some sketchy charges or not getting a foul call, I don’t hear a peep.

    • kd's abeast says:

      Actually the more aggressive team always gets more free throws because they get into their defenders and draw contact. As for free throw discrepancy did u not see game 2 where spurs had 20+ to okc 8. Whenever your team loses everyone finds excuses and blame the refs, how about okc played like the better team tonight and won because of it.

    • okckd35 says:

      Funny u only complain when your team loses. Why werent u in here after game 2 complaining for the thunder cuz the spurs had a 23-10 FT advantage?

  7. Chuck says:

    The bloggers and the basketball critics such as are in this column still have not mentioned the emerging presence of OKC’s first athletic center. He is not just quick and skilled but intimidating and fearless. I’m not sure OKC can do it all this year as Brooks will always be the second best coach in any series, but next year as Adams develops into a bona fide star, they will be ready. I think Presti will try to get a better option at the wing in the off season. Most people don’t know that one of the wealthiest men in the country just took a piece of the franchise meaning the Thunder may step over the salary cap line next year.

    • kd's abeast says:

      I hope you realize that thunders haven’t shifted into final gear yet. They have been saying in every interview there is still one more gear they can go to. Even though its hard to imagine since they’ve been playing this whole season like they r possessed.